Bumping into an old buddy in a record shop this week we got chatting casually about music, as you’re almost inclined to. He was picking up an early Julian Cope CD. I tell him that I’ve never really been much of a fan of his music, though “I did once purchase ‘Peggy Suicide’ on cassette”. He then went on to big-up his latest re-love for ‘big eighties production’. “I’m bored to the back teeth of lofi”. I, at this point, agree that he has a point. I’ve often thought of this myself in recent years, with every new band of indie noisemakers push for that more ‘authentic’ lofi sound. Starting to believe it’s only there in order to cover up for their limitations.
Oh, but isn’t it so, like, authentic-sounding and informal. “I used to like it when Guided By Voices did it but they were kinda doing it back in the nineties, before everyone else”, I go on to tell him. Lofi is the new hifi.
We’re standing at the CD section of the electronic and techno selections. After he recommends the latest Leftfield album (“I’ve not even heard it yet”, comes my response, even slightly shocking myself in the moment), I lift up a copy of the Orb’s ‘Adventure’s Beyond the Ultraworld’. “Been listening again to these first two Orb albums this week”, I tell him, before going on to mention how much I love the vocal samples and odd conversations within them. He tells me he’s sure that Alex Paterson remains unsure about how or where he picked these things up. That goes some way to explaining it, thought I. It should always be thus.
Before we part ways, I show him a copy of Helm’s wonderful 2015 disc ‘Olympic Mess’. “This is like the Orb in some ways”, I inform him. “Only, I don’t know, (starting to struggle now)…. more earthy, it all has a kind of dark, curious, almost slimy feel to it. You need to listen to it.” He seems intrigued. “I get sent lots of good music, but good is now not enough. Everyone has the software and can knock out decent stuff pretty much easily these days. This (pointing to said Helm disc), is one record that goes beyond the mere good. It almost literally transports you to strange places. This is a bit amazing”. And with that, ways were parted.